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Taliban announces 'amnesty' and urge women to join government, but many Afghans remain skeptical

Afghanistan Taliban Presidential Palace
Posted at 4:55 AM, Aug 17, 2021

A Taliban official has announced a general "amnesty" for all in Afghanistan and urged women to join its government.

After seizing control of the country over the weekend, the Taliban had attempted to portray itself as a more moderate ruling body than it was in the 1990s when they imposed a brutal regime. Many Afghans remain skeptical about the Taliban's intentions.

Older generations remember the Taliban's ultra-conservative Islamic views, which included severe restrictions on women as well as stonings, amputations and public executions before they were ousted by the U.S-led invasion that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Enamullah Samangani, a member of the Taliban's cultural commission, made the comments Tuesday on Afghan state television, which the militants now control.

Samangani said, "the Islamic Emirate (the militant's name for Afghanistan) don't want women to be victims," adding that the structure of the government remains unclear, but he added that "based on experience, there should be a fully Islamic leadership and all sides should join."

Allowing women to join the government would be a marked change from the last time the Taliban was in power when women were mostly confined to their own homes.

United Nations human rights spokesperson Rupert Colville noted the skepticism that remains among the Afghan people.

"Such promises will need to be honored, and for the time being — again understandably, given past history — these declarations have been greeted with some skepticism," he said in a statement. "There have been many hard-won advances in human rights over the past two decades. The rights of all Afghans must be defended."